What We Know About Dolly Parton's Hush-Hush Medical Issues

When you think of Dolly Parton, you're probably picturing a country music icon dripping in glam, not some damsel in distress with a health hiccup. Surprisingly, Parton has suffered several medical issues throughout her career that have been kept relatively under wraps.

Parton's career in music began to take off in the late '60s and early '70s with smash hit songs like "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You." Since then, the country music star has not stopped. She has starred in films, won plenty of awards, and continues to push boundaries in the music world. As of 2023, Parton is nearly 80 and has had a career spanning over five decades! While some musicians would have retired by now, Parton has no desire to do so.

During a 2023 interview with Greatest Hits Radio, the "9 to 5" singer denied that she would stop singing any time soon. She explained, "As long as I'm able to work, as long as my health is good, and my husband is good. I mean, the only way that I would ever slow down or stop would be for that reason ... But in the meantime, I'm going to make hay while the sun shines." But even though she suggested that if her health deteriorated, she would stop performing, she hasn't done that in the past. Parton has suffered from some serious illnesses, and she still keeps going.

Dolly Parton was diagnosed with endometriosis

Dolly Parton had quite the scare on stage in 1984. According to The Mirror, the country music singer collapsed while performing in Indianapolis. At the time, fans had no idea what was happening, but Parton later revealed the cause behind the health issue in her 2017 memoir, "Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton."

The "9 to 5" singer revealed her health issues began when she was 35 years old. She admitted she wasn't taking good care of herself and pushing herself too much. She explained in her book, "I was working hard, and underneath I was a pile of personal and emotional problems. All at once I fell apart. It was stomach problems and female problems — all over health problems actually." Although she knew she wasn't doing well, even though the doctors advised her to slow down, Parton kept going. Eventually, it all caught up to her at the Indianapolis concert after she collapsed. When taken to the hospital, the country music singer was diagnosed with endometriosis. According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is "an often-painful condition in which tissue that is similar to the inner lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus."

After her diagnosis, Parton underwent a partial hysterectomy. A partial hysterectomy results in the removal of a woman's uterus, thus making them unable to conceive any children. Parton admitted she fell into a deep depression that took a while to come out of.

Dolly Parton denied she had cancer

Dolly Parton has kept a lot of her health issues out of the spotlight, at least as best as she could. According to Daily Mail, the Grammy-winning musician has suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease for years. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is when "stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus)," per Mayo Clinic.

In 2013, the National Enquirer revealed that the country music singer underwent a procedure due to her issues with her esophagus. In the procedure, "surgeons discovered masses of scar tissue, which had to be removed and biopsied for cancer cells," a source told the outlet. Two years later, in 2015, the outlet reported that Parton was back in the hospital due to kidney stones, but not just that, she was reportedly facing something much more serious. A source told the outlet, "She's undergoing more testing. The scary thing is she has the symptoms of stomach cancer — and this is what she could be hiding." Despite all the reports, it turns out that only parts of the story are actually true.

Not long after rumors began circulating that Parton may have stomach cancer, she addressed the speculation head-on. According to ABC, she shared, "It is true that I had kidney stones. I had them removed three weeks ago and I am doing just fine," she continued, "There is absolutely no truth at all that I have stomach cancer. I love and appreciate everyone's concern." Here's hoping the Queen of Country stays happy and healthy.